Situated in the Poblenou district of Barcelona, 22@ lies behind a crucial economic and urban transformation. A historic site of all kinds of industry, now in disuse, 22@ aims to reactivate the area by incorporating new production activities into today’s obsolete industrial fabric without relinquishing the architectural presence of the past or the possibility of giving the place a contemporary image.
For half a century, the site of the INTERFACE building was occupied by the Netol cleaning products factory. The building designed in 1955 by the architect Santiago Balcells was an industrial complex of warehouses built against each other. The façade gave onto two streets, Tànger and Ciutat de Granada, and comprised a base of stone cladding with vertical concrete slats above. The main entrance was framed in stone, forming an independent element on a larger scale. Urban planning for the street block stipulated that the site was to conserve the old factory façade and allowed building levels of 18,271 m2 above grade. In terms of built volume, it proposed the construction of a tower block with a clearly rectangular floor plan aligned along Carrer Ciutat de Granada and a base similar in height to the one in the existing façade.
Our project included the proposal to conserve the façade but eliminated the base, leaving it suspended from the new building’s structure. This enabled us to relate the ground floor premises directly with the street and design a new main entrance to the building via an inner courtyard located at the corner. This courtyard leads to the main foyer, a double-height space that communicates with the vertical communication shafts.
The proposed built volume applies the criteria of the preliminary planning study that sets out to relate the building with others on the same block and in neighbouring sectors, such as the Audiovisual Campus. The idea was to make part of the building the same height as the old façade, thereby establishing a relationship with the adjacent building. This formed the base of a prismatic 13-floor volume aligned with Carrer Ciutat de Granada.
The tower distorts its floor plan to adapt to the corner and accentuate its slender line. To tone down the volumetric disparity of the buildings, we worked with a continuous skin that envelops the volumes indiscriminately, folding to form a second, scale-like skin at points where extra solar protection is needed. The second skin also envelops the old façade, incorporating it into the complex and making it an inseparable part of the new building. To highlight the new entrance, this double skin is stencilled with the building’s name.